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Strike date announced over weekly union rep’s redundancy

nujlogoUnion members at a weekly newspaper will hold a 24-hour strike next month, it has been announced.

The National Union of Journalists chapel at the Rotherham Advertiser has agreed to the walkout on Thursday 11 June in response to a decision to make its Father of Chapel, reporter Phil Turner, redundant.

The chapel claims Phil has been ‘targeted’ for compulsory redundancy because of his union role.

The Advertiser, previously owned by the Garnett Dickinson Group, was sold in March to Nick Alexander, a former group chief executive.

The NUJ said a redundancy selection process was organised among the paper’s 14 editorial staff that month which resulted in Phil being chosen.

The company has refuted the claim Phil was targeted, describing it as “absolute nonsense”.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, said: “The chapel are steadfast in their desire to prevent a deep injustice, resist an attack on their chapel but also prevent the company doing damage to its own business.

“Our members have been forced to take this step because of the manoeuvrings of management to get rid of their FoC.

“It shows they will not look the other way but will stand up for what is right – in this they have the 100 pc backing of the union nationally and the wider labour movement.”

The union is urging NUJ members and supporters to contact the company in protest.

A company spokesman said: “The employment laws have moved on over the years and are a bit more sophisticated these days and we cannot keep someone simply because they are or aren’t in the union, are or aren’t the FoC or are a particular type of person, for instance.

“It is unfortunate that the NUJ officials appear to have hijacked the redundancy announcement and made it about them and the union, rather than the sad loss of a person’s job and livelihood, the message seemingly being that it would not matter as much were it another member of staff.

“In many ways it would have been cheaper and simpler for it to have been somebody else, but the process the union members took part in didn’t allow that.

“It is not about union bashing, that is absolutely ridiculous, but is about us having to lose a member of staff. More than 30 people have lost their jobs across Garnett Dickinson and we are wondering how when it is one particular person it becomes victimisation.

“This is a process that hasn’t been completed and we are surprised the union has gone down the route is has chosen at this stage.”


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  • May 29, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    The company response does not fit the facts.
    1. The chapel opposed compulsory redundancy from the start and long before the person eventually selected was chosen
    2. When members of the chapel were balloted it was made clear to the company that the dispute was over “redundancy” in general.
    3. The result of the successful ballot for strike action was notified to the company on 30th April, more than three weeks before the identity of the person to be made compulsory redundant was known.
    4. Notice of the first action taken, a mandatory chapel meeting, was given five days before the results of the redundancy selection were given to staff.
    5. It should also be pointed out that while redundancies have been made elsewhere in the group, Phil Turner is the only dismissal from the editorial staff in the publishing division.

    Given the facts, members of the chapel have made their mind up as to what this particular redundancy is about, especially as the stated savings stated at the beginning of the process were met without a job loss but the new management then insisted a job had to be lost in editorial anyway.
    The fact also remains that the loss of one job from an already stretched team is a step too far for our members.

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  • May 29, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Anybody with any knowledge of the inner workings of the deranged circus that is Rotherham Advertiser and its associated companies will tell you that you cannot believe a single word the management says.

    Best wishes to Phil though.

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  • June 1, 2015 at 8:02 am

    I sympathise with and support the Rotherham chapel in their stand. I am sure they and the union know that a one-day token strike will not to enough to get the company to change its mind.

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